META-NOMAD

The Virulent Magic of Modernity

“The black-room problem. If a human being is placed in a completely black and silent room, his mind is totally destroyed in a matter of days or weeks. The reason is obvious. Even when surrounded by physical stimuli our value sense gets eroded too easily. We let ourselves sink into the downward spiral. It is even more so in the black room. Man’s habitual, negative, devaluing tendency now has the run of his mind, unchecked by sudden bonuses of delight or glimpses of misery and danger that restore the sense of reality. It is like placing a man with a persecution complex among people who do rather dislike him.”

This excerpt from Colin Wilson’s The Occult is part of a larger section on the work of George Gurdjieff. I wont venture into his work here, I’ll only state that I’m not entirely sure whether this problem takes precedence in Gurdjieff’s oeuvre, or whether Wilson found it elsewhere, with that said Wilson’s remarks on being surrounded by physical stimuli got me thinking about modernity.

‘Modernity’ is a term I constantly use and my followers and readers seem to understand what I mean by it. Even though ‘modern’ and ‘modernity’ can actually have very specific meanings, especially with regard to Modernism etc. But that’s never been what I meant by it. In fact, come to think of it ‘modernity’ – as I use it – is one of those times wherein the problem of an inability of articulation comes to the fore. I just cannot for the life of me correctly articulate to you what I mean when I write ‘modernity’. The closest I’ve come to being able to articulate it is ‘disenchantment’ or even anti-enchantment, but then of course I would have to define enchantment. Herein is another problem, one of modernity, namely, definition. Why do I feel so compelled to define this all for you? I don’t know, but I believe that perhaps the aforementioned ‘black-room problem’ may help me in my quest to articulate to you, the reader, what modernity is, and why it is oh so corrosive to the soul, to the possibility of essence and to one’s spirit.

Wilson writes of this black-room, and for the life of me I can’t see how that reality is all that different to that lived by your average schmuck. On a purely banal sensory level yes, the reality would be different, for your average person would see black and hear nothing, as opposed to seeing stuff and hearing odds and ends. Perhaps by the end of this you can ask yourself which is better, eternity in black silence, or eternity in noisy mall…

The black-room problem assumes that one steps into this room from another point-of-view. The problem with ‘The Room of Modernity’ is that no one really had this option, did they? How does one know they’re in a room if they’ve never had another room to use as comparison, reaction or haven? Where in the black-room one sees black, in the Room of Modernity one sees what modernity wants it to see: adverts, TVs and TV shows, education syllabi, economic systems, disjointed natural relations, adverse reactions to nature, consumption-as-virtue, consumption-as-entire/-as-identity, the assumption of the construction of identity, trinkets galore, level-based systems of ‘achievement’ etc.

Basically, the Room of Modernity is a self-referential feedback loop pertaining to the idea that those inside the room are within the only room that ever existed, and that one’s options for existence are solely to identify with lesser or greater degrees of modernity. If you wish to understand how deep you have fallen into the trap of modernity, then listen up, this begs repetition, for to assimilate the next few paragraphs into your understanding, into your soul and actions as a being is to begin a personal process of becoming and overcoming.

Your day is not yours. The day is an entirely false concept based upon early agricultural tradition of rising and setting with the sun – once again, nothing new (under the sun). As such you chain your emotions, feeling and physical inclinations to a time-frame that is entirely not of oneself. You feel tired and crave a sleep without a stressful tomorrow, such a tomorrow cannot exist and so tiredness becomes the norm. In fact, you’ve been programmed to ignore those things entirely as if they were indeed…things, which of course they are not. By emotions I do not mean contemporary aspirational virtue wherein one casts forth pithy adoration for the latest piece of trivial pop media. I mean the (lacking) emotional vitality of breathing the sun into one’s lungs, of using your second tongue to melt the most basic of foods into a dream, to not use your body, but understand that your body is secondary to the process of the mind, and so the body flings itself to the rhythms of the spirit. But no, you keep stagnant at the desk-of-desire, moving 100 steps a day at most, and eating the deadened remains of plastic packets! More.

You go to your job. A fact imposed upon all from birth as if it was so. The fact you go is already a problem, but prior to the problem is the problem. The assumptions of modernity: ‘It is just what you do.’, ‘Ah, you’ll get used to it kid.’, ‘Everyone’s gotta do it.’ and my single least favorite sentence of all time (sincerely): ‘That’s life.’.

All those who declare in the assumptive tone of modern man the statement ‘That’s life.’ with the utmost sincerity – as if it meant all was secure, and that all is how it should and will be forever, and that the individual has no means of exit –  should be flailed in the gutter, for they are already dead, quite literally. This is the cry the deceased begging you to join it in a living-death. For what comes of following the apathetic commands of these zombies, to follow their call ‘That’s life.’ is simply to follow the whim of modernity’s lowest bidder with regard to your life. Now back to your job.

Most of these jobs are not work, not in the true sense of ‘work’. This is not another pseudo-Protestant rant from Meta about acquiring a trade and exiting ‘bullshit jobs’. It is along those lines, but continues into something deeper. Work in its truest sense is that which you derive an immanent satisfaction from, it is that which when undertaken feels as if one is attending to the purpose of both their body and mind. The average job nowadays is little more, in its deconstruction, than moving a small piece of plastic with your arm, as a way to make the correct numbers appear in front of those who could remove you from that job. To make sure the statistics are correct so you don’t lose the job you hate. You go to this job too, you use your time to appear at this place which makes no sense to you outside of its own presumptions.

I am not presuming that one and all can acquire the perfect purpose within their life, in fact, such a conclusion of the perfect end to one’s life is completely not what I’m aiming at here. The process of overcoming is exactly that, a process, many forget this. The majority assume a position of completeness given to them subconsciously (magickly) by the Room of Modernity. See, the Room of Modernity with all its things, items, objects and atheistic materialism has inherent within its circuitry a subconscious emanation of completion and conclusion. For what is an object but a definite item/thing, it is fucking done. And one is entirely surrounded by these objects, but not only these objects and items but an idea structure of objects. A job which in its deconstruction equals the means to continue said job and to acquire items of status, security and wealth. These items are connections to groups, hobbies and friends who share their attraction to these items, these conclusions. ‘I do X too!’

The job that gets you money, to purchase land close enough to the job to get to the job easily, so one can afford more items to put into one’s house and prove to one’s friends that you also are ‘in on it’ You have the same conclusions as everyone else, you too are in the Room!

Once again, I do not wish for all to ditch their possessions and become an ascetic, nor remove themselves from society entirely, it is just a matter of questioning. One must perform meditations on even the most simple of tasks, that is where the fragments of the real are found, in excavations of one’s habits (for starters).

And so you return ‘home’ from your job and ‘relax’. Relax from what exactly? Have you ever asked yourself this? For I imagine all readers here have done at least one day of truly hard work. Where when you return home you quite literally have to take the weight off your feet, your entire body pulses with a form of heat and muck, a state one can relax quite easily from. And yet we find that those with the most mundane, meaningless and bullshit jobs are the ones who most commonly shout about their holidays and time relaxing, what must they relax from is the nothingness of their existence. They relax but it is what you do. They go on holidays because it is what you do. They buy big TVs because it is what you do. Fancy cars, fancy clothes, certain ideas, certain opinions, foods, lifestyles, ideologies, careers, motives, principles, all because it is what you do. And if the only reason one has done something is because it is what everyone else is doing, then they have in fact not truly done that thing, not as an act or statement or cause or conviction, no, they have only performed it under the spell of modernity.

The Room of Modernity emanates some of the most potent magic to ever be conjured. Magic which has virulently infected all sensory pathways and become a compound circuitry of control. There is no sense which has not been quite literally effected by the magic of Modernity.  Dion Fortune (Violet Firth Evans), one of the most important magical theorists of the twentieth century, defined magic as “the art and science of causing changes in consciousness in accordance with will.” And so what can we say of Modernity in relation to this definition of magic. That the Room of Modernity, Modernity itself is a civilization-based engine of repressive magic, fueled by industry and man’s inherent ignorance and stupidity. It’s got you by the spine my friends and you must shed every single trace of modernity you can and rebuild! By that juncture the idea of ‘rebuilding’ will be entirely new to you. One can learn to use magic to cause changes in accordance with their will, or they can allow the magic of modernity to cause changes to their will unannounced, who’s in control here?

Do not be a creature of habit, that is the attribute that makes you come across as a creature! You state you question things, that you are knowledgeable and ‘well-read’, pah! The buzzwords of a crook. You my friend have drunk the magical Kool Aid of modernity, savored every drop and sought only to explore the deep recesses within the Room of Modernity. For one cannot exit the Room from within the Room, because – if you hadn’t worked this out by now – the Room is not a physical space, it is an ideological fort which you allow to be upheld as the kingdom of your own mind. The foundations of the Room were forced onto you at birth – unless you are of fortunate temperament – and your assumptions, apathy and ignorance allowed for the rest of its walls to be built, and adulthood secured the warming roof of Modernity above your head, solidifying the fact in your mind that all this was of course planned and was meant to be like this, for as you state…’That’s life.’

So wherein can one find the exit? Of course one is within the Room, which as explained is a construction largely (make no mistake, it’s very ‘real’ too) of one’s mind, but of course and always one is still in control of their mind, their will. As such one can with practice, ever-so-slowly, remove layers and layers of Modernity until eventually, one day, realizations happen within oneself and the Room of modernity begins to crumble and decay, never to be built again. Stop attending to things as an escape. No amount of TV, video games, music or food is ever going to allow you to overcome the self. The answers are within, as they have always been. You must meditate on the most banal assumptions until they wither away into a heap of shocking presumptions. You must think for yourself, to ask oneself at each and every turn, however small, if this is the way you wish to go. I repeat these notions of freedom because many still follow the paths of others even when they most certainly think they are not.

You are allowed to do as you please.

Let me repeat that and beg that you meditate of this phrase for at least 5 minutes.

You are allowed to do as you please.

If you want to you may draw intricate 5′ x 5′ sketches of soggy moss, if you want to you can walk and stand in the road, if you want to you can climb a tree and pray for 9 hours straight, if you want to you can deconstruct all your possessions, if you want to you can live in a fridge – you have limited yourself in so many ways – if you want to you can meditate on cooling processes for days, if you want to you can sit and do nothing, if you want to you can sit and do everything, if you want to you can sit and breath in weird ways.

You’re much freer than you ever allowed yourself to be, the magic of modernity is – in part – to blame, but it is up to you to practice exit methods and find your own way out of the Room.

 

The Bus Kept Going

They got on the bus at the bus stop, because that was where you were supposed to get the bus from.

The bus arrived. It was bland, as almost all buses are.

There was a few of them. Rarely does a single person get on a bus. Buses are for herds. A handful of folk, a group…an event of people.

The inside of the bus was fairly standard. The seats were very dry, their colors were faded and the plastic was extremely thick. Nothing in here can hold enchantment, not an inch of this place can retain myth. The air is recycled nothingness. A temporal void, to sit in the static of modernity is to ride this bus.

The passengers were mostly overweight. Their faces round and their skin pimply. No real style or aesthetics, simple assemblages of that which was within the windows that surrounded them.

They saw things and they knew other people saw these things, so they bought these things. T

hey all held devices, the intention of which was to communicate with other people, this intention had failed and faded before it had even begun. They communicated only the fact they could communicate. Much like thinking, once they were free to communicate 24/7 the passengers of the bus realized they had very little to communicate. The devices allowed for lots of other things. None of the things ever helped the passengers in anyway. But they still clung to their devices.

Some of them spoke to each other about items they had acquired that day. Some of them blocked their ears and listened to music. Some looked at their feet whilst the trees passed by.

None of them had any expression of merit. They couldn’t be sincere, they had never held a principle higher enough for them to be sincere, they only got the bus each day, that is what they did. That is what they chose to do, to get the bus again and again. And so they were on the bus and the bus started to move.

As the bus pulled away the town it pulled away from continued on. The passengers on the bus lurched forward. The movement signified that they were all together in…something. They paid no attention to the fact it began to move, this was normal. They paid no attention to the sounds, smell or tastes of the bus, these were normal. They paid no attention, they were a big big frown. The bus turned 3 more corners and they had left the town.

The bus continued down roads, some big, some smaller. Mostly trees went past the windows, then they were gone and it was houses, still no one looked at them, or looked up. The passengers were not in a daze, or concentrating, they were simply there. They were passengers. Sometimes the bus would go past quite big structures and some of the eyes of the bus would fixate on it for a few seconds. Then the eyes would return to the strange in-between space of modernity. The veil between narcissism and reality, their eyes fixated on the lies they had been told which they wished to achieve. Their eyes then, were fixed on nothing.

The bus kept the same speed.

The bus went past the first stop without stopping or even halting.

The bus went past the second stop without stopping.

The bus went past the third stop.

None of the passengers cared or were bothered. They were not apathetic, they were just there.

One man on the bus had a big green coat on. He really liked his big green coat. When he looked at his big green coat he was made happy by the decision he had made to buy it. He returned to this thought often. He also looked out of the window sometimes, he didn’t think of much. Dinner, work, TV – he hadn’t done or seen any of these for a while. But he thought of them a bit. He looked at the woman next to him, she looked back and smiled. She then looked out of her window and thought of bread.

The towns flew past the windows of the bus. The passengers bodies moved in the manner of modern man, in small jolts and lumbering small aches and releases. No one really moved, they just rearranged the stiffness. There was the occasional physical catharsis. A sigh big enough to ease of any especially energetic atmosphere. The passengers were against energy, nor for it, they were and were and were. Sometimes the bus swayed.

The bus kept going.

Some of the passengers mentioned that the bus had kept going and had been going a little longer than usual. The other passengers tutted or made subtle noises as to agree with the overheard statements. The consensus of the bus’ entire was that it had kept going. Subconsciously this was agreed and then the bus fell into a quick silence.

It had been a long time since the bus had started and kept going. The passengers occasionally looked up from their seats and out of the windows. Some would see towns quite like their own pass by, only to realize that it was not their town but someone else’s, someone not on the bus. And so their heads would return to their seats.

Sometimes, once every few years, a passenger would get up and check on the driver. There was no driver. But no passenger told the other passengers there was no driver. Eventually they all knew there was no driver. There was no melancholy, only an existence.

There was one child on the bus, he seemed to be upset. More often than not he would return to his seat and fall asleep.

I’m not sure why they never admitted to anything, or stood by anything. But the passengers were on the bus and they had got on the bus and it just kept going. I don’t know if they cared. I think they didn’t.

On Consumerism

A discussion I’ve had time and time again with friends and family is one regarding consumerism. We usually discuss politics and collapse (in that order) until the early hours and eventually one person usually states something along the lines of,

“Well yeah, but the root of all this is the mindless consumerism! That’s what we need to stop!”

A statement which used to frustrate me, largely due to the fact there was lack of shared coherent definition regarding what ‘consumerism’ means. See, I figure that most people who are critical of consumerism see it as external to themselves, something which they don’t do and is only a problem for the dumb masses. I used to agree with such a definition, for it takes quite the stomach to admit that one might have traits of the sheep in their nerves.

This typical definition of consumerism is a general critique of mindless behavior as opposed to an exposition on the meaning itself. Consumerism in the stereotypical sense means someone who wants/desires the latest car, flatscreen-TV, Marvel Movie etc. Basically someone who is entirely caught up in the spectacle of consumption and wishes to have the latest purchasable piece of the spectable, as to prove that they are indeed in-on-it, they are in-the-know and are ultimately, normal and worthy of popularity, status and attention. I see this definition as basically wrong, in fact, it’s not only wrong, it’s extremely misleading.

The above definition is more like the worst parts of the whole, the most extreme example of consumerism. And as prevalent and obvious as that part of the definition is, it’s only the glaring top layer of the consumerist cake. In fact, I’d argue it’s the layer that almost needs to stay alive for consumerism to continue flourishing. We’ve all read or seen Fight Club, ‘you are the shit you buy’ etc etc. blah blah, misreadings all over the place, angsty morons begin lobbing their half-baked anti-I-don’t-even-fucking-know ideology about the place and generally using the pithy pseudo-ideology of an OK novel to legitimize their own bullshit. This of course implies that there’s a whole other level of consumerism going on, one which most people really…really don’t want to admit to, at least those who are supposedly critical of consumerism at large.

It’s easy to be critical of those buying the latest sports car, the latest TV, the biggest house etc. of consumerism, because, well, the things they’ve purchased are so large, garish and obvious that one cannot help to project their own insecurities into phrases such as “Compensating for something?”, “I just think people should live within their means.” and “Urgh, his/her life must be so empty.” Shut up. You’d have bought the same empty shit if you had the money or the chance. How do I know this? Because within your current ‘means’ you continue to buy the bullshit you can now! Every year or two you buy a new iPhone because, well…it came out – your old phone was fine of course, you just kinda…wanted the new one. You buy designer clothes even though you have perfectly fine clothes at home, you buy new editions of books because they’ll look nicer on your shelves, you – like 82% of the country (UK) – bought your ugly new car on finance, you just got new sofas because you changed your colour-scheme, you of course had to try that new sauce/meal/burger/wrap/drink from [insert food chain here]. The list goes on and on and fucking on! You are not outside of consumerism, you are so totally within it that you exist solely on hypocrisies at this point.

Thus far one could quite easily mistake the overarching idea of consumerism which I’m writing about here as simply a material ‘ism’. And that which we consume is only material, things and/or items etc. This is, once again, completely incorrect. The items of consumerism are secondary. Secondary to an idea. A shit, vacant, idiotic idea. The idea itself can’t be encapsulated by one phrase or statement because it subsumes lots of other socio-parameters into it. Status, normalcy, popularity, anxiety, paranoia, cultural-capital, to name just a few, are the fuel for this idea. The idea is of course simply consumption as means and meaning, but it’s so absolutely unconscious that – as I have stated – even those who attest to hate it, understand how it works or who are virulently against it continue to fall prey to its allure.

The problem is – as opposed to creation, mutation, differentiation and communication – consumption is very easy. So easy in fact we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

Let me ask you this dear reader, is your personality merely a culmination of your vices?

Are you an end-product of compounding material desires, ideological consumption and identity traits into a ‘being’?

Almost everything falls into the realm of consumption and it takes quite the alteration in perspective to remove yourself from the realm, so that your acts become somewhat ‘authentic’ (though I don’t want to venture into that avenue) or at least taken self-knowingly.

Remember when you were a child and you and your buddies stayed up late and watched some action-packed war film? The next day you went off the woods and pretended sticks were guns and rocks were grenades, you consumed the media and let it infect your identities – hey, at least when children do this is completely transparent. Hey, Brits, remember when Skins first came out and almost every other moron at school began to morph their personalities around those idiotic self-serving characters? Well I do, it was less transparent, but still a clear example of consumption at large.

After your teenage years I guess it becomes, at least for the masses, a little more tricky. See, the education system and the state – the two teats adults suck on for security of both an individual and collective kind – teach very little (if anything) about that which is external to consumption. Your classes at school were all formed in a manner of consumption – consume data to prove X, you consume various bits of state red-tape to be able to form your life and then continue to discuss said consumption in such a way that it fills your day and makes you seem real and connected to the norm.

“Fucking tax man took a bite out of my paycheck!”

“Got this weird housing letter about my rent…”

“I hope I pass X-exam, I’ve studied hard'”

There’s nothing in any of this, it’s the filler conversation which makes up 99% of life – unless you make the decision to exit from those people and places, which is relatively easy…but perhaps you just life comfort.

“So Meta, if all adults are is this weird culmination of bits and pieces they’ve consumed, what makes you so special? How can anyone not be some odd creature of consumptive habit?”

Well dear reader, that’s a very astute question, thank you for asking. When I write these posts I generally think that I come across as a condescending arsehole, I don’t massively care. Those who’ve I’ve offended are offended solely because of resentment, and wish their comforts had not been questioned. Those who are angry now, but willing to look inward will be thankful later.

#Anyway, the question at large I guess is this, ‘How can you not be a consumer?’ I mean, everyone consumes at a fundamental level don’t they? Water, food and shelter are things we need and so we consume them, the key point of argument then is the difference between a need and a want, or in French, between a need and a desire. You need shelter, water and food. You don’t need a new TV, a fancy car and brand name clothes. All of these are simply lifestyles being sold to you, visions of a future wherein you have higher status, greater popularity and more people life you. Look at that guy in the prototype Audi A333, wrapped in 30 layers of Ralph Lauren with a TV implant in his head, he is cool…he is alpha. For a good novel on this absurd form of consumerism I recommend James Palumbo’s TOMAS.

Anyway, the reason everyone consumes, and no one is immune from the consumerist lifestyle is that pretty much everyone is, at least in some way, weak. I’m weak to books, especially esoteric and obscure books, I consume then like a rabid animal. In a certain sense I’ve bought into some ideal there and am beginning to move from it. If this is the case then consumerism at large, in definition, is largely defined by the reasons why someone is purchasing something as opposed to act of consumption in itself. It doesn’t matter if you’re buying McDonalds or organic, fairtrade, homegrown, vegan, non-GMO, gluten free jam, it’s the reason you’re buying them. You’re probably buying the formed because some remnant of a heartfelt kitsch McDonald’s advert is lodged in the back of your mind and you suddenly just ‘fancied’ a burger, think on your actions for more than a second and you will immediately stop consuming as much, the latter however might be bought out of sincerity, but it also might be bought out of virtue. Hell, a lot of that kind of vegan, wholefoody stuff must be bought out of virtue alone…’cus it tastes like shit.

Strangely, this is were my now not-so-recent flirtation with Occultism come in handy. (With that said, I think continued reading, research and practice of Occultism means it’s no longer a flirtation and something more…) See, in my Greer interview he notes of the animatronic Santa Claus figures you get at Christmas. You know the ones, you press the button, he dances and sings a tune, the family laughs for 2 seconds, it gets thrown out in a few months. The point is if people actually thought about their purchase decisions for more than a nano-second entire industries wouldn’t even exist. Consumerism in its entire is a demonic force that preys on passivity and apathy. You’re not thinking, you don’t care and you’re hardly even mentally awake, and that’s why you feel alienated and empty, you’re simply the crass compound human-butter made solely of vapid desires and parasitic dreams. In short, you’re an unthinking idiot.

Want to get ‘out’ of consumerism and edge a little closer towards authenticity and a more content, fulfilling being, it’s quite simple, practice meditation. Specifically discursive meditation:

“To get the best results, discursive meditation requires the same sort of preliminaries that the more familiar forms of meditation do. The standard advice among old-fashioned occultists was to sit in a chair with your spine comfortably straight, not leaning against the back; your feet are flat on the floor; your legs are parallel to each other, and bent at a right angle; your hands rest on your thighs close to your knees, and your elbows are at your sides. Every muscle you don’t need to use to stay upright is as relaxed as you can get it. Having assumed the position and deliberately relaxed the muscles just mentioned, you breathe slowly and deeply for several minutes, paying attention to the inflow and outflow of the breath, and turn your mind away from every topic of thought except the theme of your meditation.” – Foundations of Magical Practice: Meditation

I practice (though not as routinely as I’d like) 2 forms of discursive meditation. Firstly the one above which I practice prior to bed for 15 minutes, or until the question has been answered and dissolves. I also practice a form of questioning/discursive meditation with a friend – this is a personal invention, but great for quick problem solving. Find a friend in whom you can trust to tell the depths of your soul. Your question or predicament may be serious or harmless etc. Have them question you after every answer.

“I think I need a new job.”

“Why?”

“This one isn’t fulfilling.”

“Why?”

“The work doesn’t suit me.”

“What is it about the work?”

“It’s dull, meaningless.”

“What work do you think would have meaning for you?”

You get the picture, anyway, I find both of these forms of ‘meditation’ extremely useful in day to day life.

And so you want to exit consumerism, perform a discursive meditation either on a consumptive habit that is frustrating you (Netflix, smoking etc.) or on your consumptive habits in general, note the results, reflect on the initial problem and the answer that helps you find some peace with it. Often the two would have be very difficult to connect.